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                   BELI MAWR AND LLYR LLEDIATH IN WELSH PEDIGREES
                                            By Darrell Wolcott
 
          A number of the Welsh royal families trace their ancestry to the man called Beli Mawr, whose pedigrees make him descend from the legendary Brutus of Troy.[1]  We doubt his birth-name was Beli (BAY-lee), this being one of the major Celtic gods, the God of the Sun.  But a real man of some name spawned the ensuing families, so we shall call him Beli Mawr for lack of sources citing his birth name.  He should not be confused with the fictional Beli and wife, Don, found in Welsh mythology[2].
 
         The earliest extant pedigree contains what we believe to be a later copyist's gloss which attempts to describe his son Aflech as "who was son of Beli Mawr and Anna, she said to be a cousin of Virgin Mary mother of our Lord Jesus Christ"[3].  Not only was the era of Beli Mawr 100 years too early for such a wife, there appear to be at least two (incorrect) reasons why some early writers thought the ensuing family was related to the Virgin Mary.  In some very early texts, his name was abbreviated "B.M." which was wrongly thought to mean "Beata Maria", the blessed Mary.  But more likely, his name was simply confused with the Biblical man, Heli, who is cited as the husband of Anna and father of Mary[4]. Geoffrey of Monmouth also referred to Beli Mawr as "Heli".
 
        In an earlier paper[5], we reproduced the pedigree which contains the 700 years of links from Beli Mawr back to the legendary Brutus, and we shall not dwell here on its authenticity.  Rather we shall present the pedigrees of the major families which claim descent from him.  The very early names are spelled several ways in the various sources; the orthography we use is our modern equivalents:
 
                            130 BC  Beli Mawr
                                              l
                                  100  Aflech (Lludd)
                                              l
                                   70  Afallach
                    ______________l________
                    l                                       l
           40  Owain                       35  Euddolen
                    l                                       l
        10  Bryddgwyn                      5  Eudos
                    l                                       l
       20AD  Dubun                     25AD  Eneid
                    l                                       l
         50  Onwedd                      60  Eudeyrn
                    l                                       l
        80  Anwerydd                    90  Eudigant
                    l                          _______l_________
                    l                          l                            l
      110  Amgolydd      120  Rydeyrn         125  Deheuwaint
                    l                        l                              l
         140  Dwfyn       155  Rhifedel           155  Rydeyrn
                    l                        l                              l
           170  Doli         185  Gradd            185  Gwrtheyrn
                    l                        l                              l
           205  Cein         215  Urban             220  Cadeyrn
                    l                        l                              l
       235  Gwyndog       250  Telpwll      250  Rhuddfedel Frych
                    l                        l               ________l_______
                    l                        l               l                          l
          265  Iago      280  Deheuwaint      l                          l
                    l                        l               l                          l
         295  Tegid        310  Tecfan           l                          l
                    l                        l               l                          l
 325  Padarn Beisrudd  340  Coel Hen       l                          l
                    l                                        l                          l
         355  Edern(a)                        _____l                          l
                    l                               l                                   l
       385  Cunedda         280  Gloyw Gwallt Hir(b)      285  Brydw
                                                   l                                   l
                                      315  Guidolyn                 315  Pasgen
                                                  l                                   l
                                       350  Gwydol                350  Cadeyrn
                                                  l                                  l
                                     385  Gwrtheyrn(c)    380  Cadell Ddyrnllwg
 
       (a) One of the earliest man in the extended family whose wife is known; he married a daughter of Coel Hen, a lady we date c. 370
        (b)  No sources cite the ancestry of Gloyw.  See note (c) for our attaching him to this family
        (c)  It is his position in the family timeline, and the fact that the only other man known to bear this name occurs in the pedigree of Cadell Ddyrnllwg, which makes our conjecture a reasonable guess.  He also chose the names of ancestors of Cadell for his sons' names.  This man was known to history as Vortigern. 
       
         You may have noted that we did not include another family said to have descended from Beli Mawr: the senior line which ruled the Catuvellauni tribe during the invasions of both Julius Caesar and Claudius.  That branch became extinct in the male line early in the second century AD and was never involved with Welsh genealogies.  It included Tecfan (Taciovanus), Cynfelyn (Cunobelinus) and Caradog (Caraticus), men familiar from Roman histories.  The Welsh trace their ancestry to a younger son of Lludd called Afallach, a man who relocated to another part of the isle of Britain probably by marrying a princess from another tribe. 
 
         It is not known where the early men in our chart made their homes.  But by the time Rome left Britain in the early 5th century, two branches were seated in the far north (Cunedda and Coel Hen) and two in what is now Powys (Gwrtheyrn aka Vortigern and Cadell).  Cunedda relocated to Gwynedd where his family had intermarried with men descended from Llyr Llediath and he was the founder of the First Royal Dynasty of Gwynedd.  Men descended from Coel Hen were called "The Men of The North"[6] and they did not migrate to Wales until the Saxons forced them from their lands in the 7th century.  A man of that line founded the Second Royal Dynasty of Gwynedd in the 9th century[7].  We think a double marriage united the two Powys families in the 5th century[8]; the First Powys Dynasty was descended from Cadell Ddyrnllwg, while the Second Powys Dynasty descended from Cassanauth Wledig, a man we believe was a grandson of Gwrtheyrn (Vortigern).
 
          In the first century AD, the portion of Wales west and south of the territory later called Powys was ruled by descendants of Llyr Llediath.  He is another man of unknown birth name, simply known to us as "the man of the seas who spoke with a foreign accent".  We suspect he was a Menapii sea trader who spoke Goidelic Celt.  His son is called Bran, but both he and his father were simply equated to Celtic gods of those names.  It was Caradog ap Bran who was defeated by the Romans in 51AD and taken to Rome as a prisioner.  By the time Rome left Britain early in the 5th century, this family held virtually all the coastal lands circling Wales on three sides.  Thereafter, it intermarried with the descendants of Cunedda and, by the 7th century, ruled only the southeast part of Wales.  
 
         The extant pedigrees of Llyr Llediath are almost certainly corrupt[9]; they seek to connect him to Brutus of Troy but lack about 15 generations to be credible. The families which claim descent from him, however, can present chronologically stable pedigrees:
 
                                          60BC  Llyr Llediath
                                                         l
                                                 30  Bran
                                                         l
                                             5AD  Caradog
                                                         l
                                                 35  Cyllin
                                                         l
                                                65  Owain
                                                         l
                                        100  Meirchion Fawr Filwr
                                                         l
                                              130  Gorug
                                                         l
                                           160  Gwrddwyfn
                                                         l
                        1st wife=======Einudd======2nd wife
                                          l           190             l
                                          l           __________l__________
                             220  Caradog(a)  l                 l                  l
                                                     l                 l                   l
                                         230  Arthfael(b)  Eudaf Hen(c)  Gereint(d)
                                                                  230             235  
 
     (a) King of Demetae, the westernmost point in Britain both north and south of the Bristol Channel.  Geoffrey of Monmouth calls him Duke of Cornwall and advisor to Eudaf Hen.  Probably the father of usurping Emperor Carausius
     (b)  Ancestor of the Gwent Dynasty which included Meurig ap Tewdrig and Morgan ap Athrwys
     (c)  King of Cernyw in north Wales and father of Elen; his great-granddaughter, Stradwel, was the grandmother of Cunedda whose descendants ruled Gwynedd until the early 800's
    (d)  King of Llydaw in north Wales; his son Cynan Meriadog is said to have taken an army to Gaul under Emperor Maximianus Herculus and received lands in Brittany which he named after his lands in Wales 
 
      
           The early traditions claim that Llyr Llediath had another son, Manawydan, from whom the Isle of Man took its name.  But these stories also say that Bran ap Llyr Llediath was seated at Harlech in Ardudwy.  If Llyr had been raised on the Isle of Man before relocating to Ardudwy in Gwynedd, his Manx Goidelic speech would have been intelligible to the men in his new home but different enough from their Brythonic Celt to call it a "foreign accent". 
 
          It is possible to suggest that Llyr Llediath may have shared common ancestors with Beli Mawr.  Note the similarity of names found in the 3rd century BC ancestors claimed for both men:
 
                  285BC  Dyfnarth(a)           285BC  Dingarth(b)
                                 l                                      l
                      255  Crydon                    255   Cridol
                                 l                                      l
                     225  Cerwyt                      225  Cerint
                                 l                                      l
                       195  Eneid                     190  Moruran
                                 l                                      l
                     160  Manogan                     155  Arth
                                 l                                      l
                 130BC  Beli Mawr                     125  Ceit
                                                                        l
                                                       95  Garar Garanhir(c)
                                                                        l
                                                       65BC  Llyr Llediath
 
         (a) His pedigrees in Historia Gruffudd vab Cynan and ABT 1(a) continue "ap Prydein ap Aedd Mawr and extend back to Brutus of Troy 
           (b)  His pedigrees in Bonedd yr Arwyr and Brenhinllwyth Morganwc continue "ap Annun ap Albanus/Lainus" and connect with Brutus
           (c)  He is cited as "Garar ap Gerein Hir" and "Barar ap Ceri Hir"; since the nickname "Garanhir" occurs elsewhere (denoting "long thin legs like a crane"), and since Llyr Llediath occurs only 2 generations later than Beli Mawr, we posit that Garar's birthname may be incorrectly separated from his nickname with an "ap"
 
        
           The top three names in both pedigrees could represent the same men; if so, then Eneid and Moruran would be brothers. However, we only mention this as one possibility.  It is equally as likely that no one knew the real ancestry of Llyr Llediath, and early men fabricated a pedigree seeking to connect him with Brutus of Troy.
 
 
                                        
 
NOTES:
[1] Nennius 10 & 18; ABT 1a; Historia Gruffudd vab Cynan
[2] Characters found in the Mabinogion, Don is called the wife of Beli.  One of the many anachronisms which abound in those tales has the daughter of Beli and Don marrying Llyr Llediath.  If the historic Beli Mawr ever met Llyr Llediath, it was when Beli was an old man and Llyr a baby, but there is no reason to assume the two families were more than rulers of widely separated tribes
[3] Harleian Ms 3859, 1
[4] Luke 3:23 makes Heli the son of Matthat and father of Joseph, but it deliberately omits females.  Most believe Matthat was the father of Anna who married Heli and this couple were the parents of Virgin Mary who was betrothed to Joseph
[5] See "Brutus, the Legendary Eponym of Britain" at the link below:
[6] The Welsh called these men "Gwyr y Gogledd"
[7] Merfyn Frych ap Gwriad, who descended from Coel Hen through Llywarch Hen
[8] See "Ancient Powys" at the link below:
[9] Bonedd yr Arwyr 33; Brenhinllwyth Morganwc from Pen. 178, 10